For the third time in the past four months, Microsoft Ventures is investing in a seed-stage startup.
Microsoft’s newly-formed unit that consolidated startup-oriented programs under one roof today announced an investment in Askem, an app that lets users ask questions and receive answers from their social networks.
Askem, a 2013 graduate of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Tel Aviv, provides a platform for people to post about anything — a new dress, a crazy thought, the latest news story — and create up to five responses that your friends can vote on. The idea is similar to the just-debuted Jelly app and other social networking-based polling services, but Microsoft said that Askem “gets actionable answers from the wall of noise.”
Askem lets users post their photos from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram with the polling mechanism layer embedded on top. The service is meant not only for individuals, but also marketers who want to poll their customers about a certain product or idea.
Microsoft Ventures, which debuted this past June, represents an effort by the Redmond-based company to throw its hat in the ring alongside other, more established players, like Google, which has its own venture arm. In November, Microsoft Ventures invested in both mobile productivity startup Zula and Ranku, a service that helps students find online degree programs.